Category:Diocesan Cases of Worcester A-L

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Diocesan Cases

(alphabetical listing)

[57 offenders identified, 43 listed]

Anon monk case 84-year-old monk was falsely accused of sexually molesting by an adult woman when a jury found, that the accuser, a make-believe nun, had no credibility. She hugged the monk and then charged him with fondling her, March 2003.

Anon priest I Convicted sex offender alleged he was sexually abused by a priest as a child.

Anon priest II Son of Eunice White alleged that a priest at Sacred Heart Church in Worcester abused him at the pastor's private campground in 1980 when he was 9.

Anon priest III Lawsuit accuses a priest of raping a college student 30 years ago and claims that Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, “then a monsignor in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, was warned that the priest was assaulting young women, but took no action to protect them,” filed in Rhode Island May 1997.

Anon priest IV Ed Gagne sued the Diocese of Worcester for sexual abuse by a Catholic priest and was awarded $300,000, 1994.

Antonucci case Brother Antonio Antonucci, Roman Catholic monk, arraigned In Uxbridge District Court on charges of indecent assault and battery on a teenage boy 1993. Later status unknown.

Aquino affair Rev. James Aquino pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish and Director of the Permanent Diaconate Program (training new deacons), while vacationing in Las Vegas with Monsignor Louis P. Piermarini, was arrested by two undercover Las Vegas police officers, while in an Adult book store and theater, observed one Larry xxxx and Rev. James Aquino engaging in lewd conduct in a place open to the public. The two men were seen masturbating each other for about 30 minutes without concealing it in a place open to the public. Both men were escorted outside. Aquino said he had no identification on him - checks were run on a fake social security number furnished by Aquino, with negative results. After a few minutes he admitted he had identification in his shoe, a Massachusetts driver’s license. The picture showed Aquino in a Roman collar, and he admitted he gave false information because he was a priest, 21 October 2004. Initially charged with lewd conduct and giving false information to a police officer, Aquino pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, did community service, sought counseling and stayed out of trouble. Placed on administrative leave, 30 October 2005.

  1. Aquino cover-up Aquino was allowed to stay in ministry after Stephen G. Brady, president of a group called the Roman Catholic Faithful, notified Patricia O’Leary Engdahl, head of the diocesan Office for Healing and Prevention, of the charges against Rev. Aquino in an e-mail 10 March 2005. Aquino told his parishioners that the Catholic organizations that worked to get the information out to the public were “priest-hating.” Aquino told several hundred parishioners gathered at the Massasoit Road church, “that I never, never, never engaged in any sexual activity of any kind. I was never arrested, I was never handcuffed and I was never taken to the police station.” Bishop of Worcester wrote to Daniel E. Dick, victim support coordinator for Worcester Voice of the Faithful, who had also brought the information about Aquino to the bishop’s attention saying Aquino’s lawyer had written to him saying the charges made against Aquino were false and “subsequently dismissed” by the court, 17 October 2005.
  2. Aquino support Rev. Aquino asked his flock for forgiveness but spent most of his hastily arranged mea culpa blaming others, offering bizarre excuses and professing his innocence to adoring parishioners who accepted his account without question, 25 October 2005. “I suppose you can’t blame them, but it’s downright weird the way some Catholics continue to drink the Kool-Aid and swallow the hypocrisy of the church hierarchy. Why a standing ovation for a priest accused of providing a hand job in a public place, a priest who, despite supporters’ praise for his ‘courage’ in speaking out, only came forward when the story was all over the Internet and about to break in the local press?”

Ares case Rev. Brion T. Ares was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery on a 20 year old man he was counseling. The trial ended when the judge declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict.

Bagley case Rev. John J. Bagley, the former chancellor for the Diocese of Worcester and a former official at the Vatican, who last served as pastor at St. Mary's parish, North Grafton, was removed by Bishop Daniel P. Reilly and placed on administrative leave on 22 February 2002.

  1. Bagley Vatican From 1972 to 1974, Rev. Bagley was in Rome where he was assigned to the Papal Audience Office for American Bishops and served as assistant superior of the Graduate House of Students at the North American College. He was assigned to Blessed Sacrament parish in 1971 and Our Lady of Mount Carmel after transferring from Christ the King. He also served with the Newman Apostolate at Worcester State College in 1971.
  2. Anon accusation I Rev. Bagley assaulted a male victim aged about 15 in 1963 when he was assigned to Christ the King parish in Worcester.
  3. Anon accusation II Rev. Bagley, who last served as pastor at St. Mary's parish, North Grafton, was removed and placed on administrative leave in February 2002 by Bishop Daniel P. Reilly. The removal followed an allegation made to the diocese by a man, in his 40s, who claimed he was raped by Rev. Bagley in 1967 when he was serving at Christ the King parish.
  4. Anon accusation III Bagley was accused sexual misconduct with a Worcester youth he took to Canada during the 1970s. District Attorney John J. Conte said his investigation into allegations against Bagley turned up more than one victim. Conte forwarded the files from his investigation of Rev. Bagley to the Toronto Police Service May 2003. The alleged incident is beyond the Massachusetts statute of limitations, which means Conte cannot prosecute the priest there, but Canada does not have a statute of limitations for this type of crime.

Banach affair Rev. Henry S. Banach sued for alleged abuse of a boy age 12 or 13 in 1976 and 1977 when he was assigned to St. Hedwig parish in Southbridge. He is retired and living in Worcester. He has been accused of sexual abuse by three other men in a pending civil suit, filed 2002.

Bartlett case Rev. Lee F. Bartlett, popular and high-profile pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Worcester was removed from his parish assignment after a New Hampshire man came forward with allegations of sexual abuse by the priest beginning in 1977, when the man was 13 years old, March 2002.

Battista case Monsignor Leo J. Battista (1924-2006) a native of Clinton, served in several parishes in Central Massachusetts, including Southbridge, South Barre and twice in Leominster, first as a curate in the 1950s and as pastor in the1980s, his last assignment. He also served in Thailand. He was former director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Worcester, was named a defendant in a lawsuit filed in July 1992, by a former nun who claimed “Battista sexually assaulted and abused her while she was undergoing psychotherapy as his client,” during the 1970s and 1980s. Previous allegations by another nun had led to the suspension of his license to practice social work in 1991, after admitting he had sex with her. In 2004, the Diocese of Worcester asked the Vatican to defrock Battista, but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which rules on such requests, stopped short of defrocking, instead prohibiting Battista “from any type of priestly ministry.” He was told to spend his remaining days in prayer and penance, 2006.

Beaulac affair Br. Robert Beaulac (deceased), Assumptionist, accused of abuse, sued 2003.

Bissonette affair Rev. Bernard W. Bissonette accused of abuse of Thomas Deary when he was assigned to St. Mary’s parish in Putnam, Conn., in the early 1960s. Deary suffered a tortured life and committed suicide in 1991 at age 44. The victims brother, Gene Michael Deary in April 2002 called for the resignation of Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, then bishop in Worcester and former bishop in Norwich, and Bishop Daniel Hart, then Norwich bishop, for failing to seek laicization of Rev. Bissonette. Gene Deary discovered after his brother’s death that Rev. Bissonette allegedly abused a number of children when he was assigned to parishes in the Putnam area and he had been transferred 17 times. He said he was informed by Bishop Reilly, who had not been bishop in Norwich when the alleged abuses occurred, that Rev. Bissonette was no longer a priest. Deary later discovered Bissonette had not been laicized. Finally, Pope Benedict XVI laicized Bissonette 20 May 2006.

Blizard case Former priest the Rev. David L. Blizard (1947-) arrested 2003, was found innocent of charges of assault and battery of a person over 14 on 17 August 2004 in Brockton Superior Court after Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte initially investigated but turned the case over to the Plymouth County district attorney because the offense allegedly happened 25 July 1988, in Wareham. This was the second criminal court case that was initiated by an investigation from Worcester District Attorney John J. Conte’s office, which has resulted in the exoneration at trial. Brother Louis Laperle, was found innocent in Fitchburg district court in March.

  1. Malo lawsuit In a lawsuit, Robert A. Malo of Worcester alleged that he was sexually abused by Rev. Blizard in 1978 or 1979 as part of a “child sex ring” that operated from the former House of Affirmation in Whitinsville. Other men have come forward to publicly state they were subject to sexual misconduct by this priest when he was in the Diocese of Worcester.

Branconnier affair Rev. Gerard L. Branconnier sexually abuse Paul A. Guries, and a lawsuit in 1993, he received an out-of-court settlement of about $35,000. The incidents happened when Guries was 16 and a member of North American Martyrs Parish, Auburn. Although Branconnier was removed from ministry and placed on leave in 1993 by Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, he continued to function as a Catholic priest. Guries said he had an “awkward” situation when he attended a wake at an Auburn funeral home in 2006. He found Rev. Branconnier dressed in clerical garb and signing the guest book as a priest. Guries listed other reasons he believes Rev. Branconnier may still be functioning as a priest. He sent a copy of a letter outlining his allegations to Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio of the United States, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re at the Vatican Congregation for Bishops and Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos at the Vatican Congregation for Clergy.

Champion affair Rev. James D. Champion, pastor of St. Paul Church, was put on administrative leave after allegations for reasons unrelated to child sexual abuse, February 2004.

Carelli affair Monsignor Richard J. Carelli (d. 2000), a former diocesan chancellor, was headmaster of the former Sacred Heart Academy in Worcester, when the alleged abuse occurred around 1964. Carelli told the youth that the behavior was “appropriate between a boy and a man,” and no one would believe him if he complained about the abuse and that only he or his family would be hurt if he reported the behavior. The victim alleged that he completed his first year, failing only one subject, but the headmaster kept him back, stating it was “because plaintiff had refused his advances.” Sued 2003.

Carney affair Monsignor Carney, (d.1981) assigned to St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Worcester in 1977 and 1978 when he allegedly sexually abused a 15-year-old boy. Diocese sued 2004.

Cong affair Rev. Joseph Chu Cong, Trappist monk, accused of abuse, charged 2003.

Connolly affair Rev. John Connolly was put on temporary administrative leave while the two sexual abuse allegations, which he denied, were investigated.

Coonan affair Rev. Joseph A. Coonan (1948-) of St. John Church, Worcester faced allegations of sexual misconduct made by 15 men who told state police that Coonan did inappropriate things with them when he was a teacher and counselor in Oxford during the 1970s, telling strikingly similar stories, many involving the priest’s fondness for watching boys urinate, defecate or masturbate. Coonan could not be tried in the church court because the alleged events occurred before he was ordained a priest. He was put on administrative leave by Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, March 2002.

  1. Coonan domestic assaults Coonan was charged with domestic assault and battery on his 77-year-old mother and sister, 27 February 2006. The police dropped the charges. The police arrested Coonan again worse for drink to face charges of assaulting his mother and disabled sister, 24 September 2006.

Devlin affair Rev. Chester J. Devlin of St. Bernadette parish, Northboro, accused of abuse of boy. Removed 2002. Asked to resign.

Dongor case Rev. Lowe B. Dongor (1976-), associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Fitchburg , the Diocese of Worcester's first Filipino priest, faced charges of possessing child pornography and stealing from his parish. He was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to the charges in Fitchburg District Court, 12 September 2011. Dongor was placed on administrative leave by the diocese in July 2011. According to court documents, images of preteen girls were found on Dongor's computer when he took it in for service. He also allegedly stole $40 to $60 from the parish on several occasions to send to family in the Philippines. He fled the US and may have returned to his homeland.


Dwyer affair Br. Vincent Dwyer, Trappist monk, accused of abuse, settled for $75,000, 1995.

Fredette case Rev. Joseph A. Fredette, Assumptionist priest was overseeing a home for troubled teens in Worcester, as live-in director of Come Alive, Inc., fled to Canada in 1974 after Worcester police issued warrants for his arrest. Fredette was convicted after being extradited from Canada for raping Gary M. Melanson, when the accused was 13 years old who had been committed to Fredette's care by the state Department of Youth Services, 12 July 1995. Fredette was acquitted on charges of molesting another 13-year-old boy. The state Appeals Court overturned the 1995 convictions, for which Fredette was sentenced to 4 to 5 years in state prison, October 2002.

  1. Come Alive, Inc. Worcester halfway house for delinquent boys.

Frobas case Rev. Victor Frobas (deceased) served prison time after sexual assault convictions in Missouri in 1988. Frobas was indicted by grand jury in Worcester, MA, on three counts of unnatural rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery, May 1993. Frobas died before the Worcester case went to trial.

Gagnon affair Rev. Jean-Paul Gagnon, assigned pastor of St. Augustine parish of Millville, Mass., had a series of sexual assaults before being sent to live with the Rev. Dennis J. Rocheford, pastor of St. Therese's Parish in Blackstone, a priest assigned to assist clergy of the Diocese of Worcester charged with sexual misconduct. Sued 2002. After an investigation, the diocese placed Gagnon on leave from St. Augustine's Parish July 2003.

  1. Reilly accusation Gagnon had a series of homosexual encounters in the rectory of St. Augustine Parish in Millville with a boy who became preseminarian considering priesthood, but Bishop Daniel P. Reilly removed him from consideration for that job. Diocese of Worcester later paid for six months of psychiatric hospitalization for Chad Boisvert after he suffered from what he said was severe depression associated with the sexual encounters and his subsequent removal from the preseminary program.
  2. Staney lawsuit Gagnon was not officially removed from the parish in Millville after a civil suit was filed alleging that he molested Timothy P. Staney of Worcester when he was 14 at Holy Name of Jesus parish 1984-87. The suit states that Gagnon used information obtained in a confessional with Staney to set him up as Gagnon's sex partner, “to take over for himself.”
  3. Gagnon assault Gagnon was charged with sexually assaulting a male St. Augustine's parishioner in Sutton on or about 11 October 2002. A separate straight assault and battery charge involving a second victim in April 2004 was filed June 2004.

Holley case Rev. David A. Holley, a Benedictine priest ordained in Milwaukee in 1958 who was a sexual molester protected by the church in three states for over 30 years. Holley pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and aggravated sodomy of 8 boys in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the 1970s and was sentenced to 55-275 years in prison, May 1993.

  1. Holley in Massachusetts Bishop Flanagan accepted Holley into the Diocese of Worcester on a trial basis and assigned him to St. Philip Parish, Grafton, in November, 1962. First abuse was recorded in 1962, and he went on to serve in several Worcester parishes during the 1960s, incardinated into the Diocese of Worcester May, 1967, “By then, he had served in parishes in Grafton, East Douglas, Boylston and Worcester, and had molested children in all of them.”
    1. Saviano accusation Phil Saviano, founder of the New England chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) and three other Holley victims filed the first sexual abuse lawsuit against the Catholic Church in Massachusetts. In the course of his investigation, Saviano documented that six bishops across the country had known that Holley was a child molester. Saviano accepted a settlement of $12,500, but did not agree to any provisions of confidentiality.
    2. Holley cover-up Dallas Morning News reported that letters in Holley's personnel file showed that bishops knew he was a child molester, yet allowed him to work for at least 20 years in four states. “In this very compact diocese, it is practically impossible to transfer a priest to a place where his previous history is not known - at least by the priests of the diocese,” wrote Bishop Flanagan (d. 1998) in a letter to Bishop Mardaga. Flanagan said he did not believe Rev. Holley should continue ministry in Worcester after treatment at Seton Institute for what the bishops called “a homo-sexual problem.” He told the Wilmington bishop that there had been “at least two incidents” involving Rev. Holley but “they did not evoke wide public scandal” but did become known to several priests and lay people sent 11 February 1971. Diocese of Worcester never moved to laicize this priest despite his crimes against children.
    3. Outsourced Masses People in the Diocese of Worcester would send in donations (usually $3 to $5) for Masses to be said for a loved one. “Bishop Flanagan sent the donations and prayer requests to me in New Mexico with instructions that I, as a priest of the Worcester Diocese, pray for the Worcester parishioners by saying Masses for them in New Mexico to fulfill their spiritual intentions,” testified Holley in 1993.
  2. Holley in New Mexico Holley was transferred to New Mexico in 1969. where he was supposed to be treated by the Brothers of the Paraclete but “almost immediately after I arrived at Paraclete, I was given parish assignments for weekend work in the South Valley of Albuquerque,” where he was able to satisfy his sexual appetite for young boys. “I participated in no therapy or treatment programs offered by Paraclete. I never met with a Paraclete psychiatrist or psychologist. I was simply told by the Superior at the Pajarito Road facility to see Dr. Donald Cummings at Lovelace once a week.”
  3. Holley in Texas I Rev. A. Dixon Hartford of St. Raphael parish in El Paso, Texas, informed Bishop Sidney M. Metzer of the Diocese of El Paso that he had to immediately terminate Rev. Holley's assignment to his parish, 27 April 1976. Hartford said he would have Rev. Holley's things “packed and shipped to wherever he wished.” Holley was transferred to another parish in Texas and that Hartford offered to work with him on what he called “reality therapy.” Hartford said Holley had many talents but “his problem must be faced up to. He cannot let this problem ruin the rest of his life.”
  4. Holley in Texas II Rev. Holley was accepted into the Diocese of San Angelo, Texas, by Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, even though Holley had been forced from three other dioceses because of molestation accusations. In 1997, Fiorenza said he did not know about the priest's pedophilia when he employed him and that the “past difficulties” reference was to “poor people skills.” Later, the bishop added that the reference also covered “problems with alcohol,” something that was not in Holley’s file. Bishop Fiorenza wrote in 1982 that he knew of Holley's “past difficulties” and stated: “With our shortage of priests, I am willing to risk incardinating him,” formally making him a priest Fiorenza told Harrington that he had earlier informed Bishop Flanagan in 1982 that he would give Re# Holley “one more chance.” Bishop Fiorenza informed Bishop Harrington that “on a few occasions his past problems surfaced,” 25 May 1984. “It is with great regret that I write now to say that Father Holley has made it impossible for us to keep him in this diocese.”

Inzerillo case Rev. Peter J. Inzerillo of St. Leo parish, Leominster, remained an active priest despite allegations of sexual misconduct with a young priest candidate in the mid-1980s. The man said the misconduct happened when he was 19 during counseling sessions with Inzerillo when considering the priesthood and Inzerillo was vocation director for the Diocese of Worcester at the time. He said he had confided to Inzerillo that another priest (O’Donohue case) had abused him when he was 13. Inzerillo denied the allegation, but after a lawsuit was filed in 1994 the bishop at the time placed him on leave. Bishop Reilly settled the case for $300,000 in 1999 and reinstated him in a parish assignment at St. Leo's Church in Leominster, MA, December 2000. Within a week of his arrival, Inzerillo was in the parish elementary school, attending seventh and eighth grade classes on a regular basis, no priest had ever spent so much time in the school. Then he was teaching religious education classes. By March 2001 rumors were becoming more common involving sexual allegations that were made in the past and the amount of time he was spending in the parish with older children. Bishop Reilly continued to express support for Inzerillo and let him work until March 2002 when parishioners demanded his removal, Bishop Reilly put Inzerillo on leave again.

Jalbert affair Rev. Norman Jalbert (d. 1994) a priest who was also a music teacher and guidance counselor at Holy Name Central Catholic High School, was alleged by six victims to have sexually abused them at a camp he owned in Spencer, 1970s. As a boy, Raymond Plante Jr., the son of devout Catholic parents, said he was raped repeatedly by Jalbert. The rape and sexual abuse of Plante also involved abuse of the Eucharist. The Rev. Jalbert equated the sexual abuse as “how we do Mass here.”

Jette affair Rev. Donat Jette (deceased) accused of abuse.

Kane affair Rev. Thomas A. Kane, former psychologist and director of the House of Affirmation in Whitinsville, a treatment center for Catholic clergy, was named a defendant in a sex abuse lawsuit filed by Mark Barry of Uxbridge, the abuse beginning at age 9. The settlement agreement for $42,500, signed by Bishop Reilly, included the names of three priests who had not previously been connected to the lawsuit - Rev. Thomas Teczar (Teczar Case), Rev. Robert Shauris (Shauris affair) and Monsignor Brendan Riordan (Riordan affair). Settled in 1996.

Kardas case Two women alleged that Rev. Thadeous J. Kardas (Ted) sexually molested them beginning when they were 11-12 years old, early 1970s. They named him in a sex abuse lawsuit filed in February 1995. One victim, who he told he loved, wanted to marry, and that she was to be the mother of their children, settled with the Diocese of Worcester for $55,000 in 1995. Removed from ministry.

Kelley case Rev. Robert E. Kelley, associate priest at St. Cecilia’s Parish in Leominster, admitted in a sworn deposition that he sexually molested “50 to 100” young girls 1976-83. He pleaded guilty to two counts of “indecent assault and unnatural rape” of a female child, Jennifer A. Kraskouskas of Gardner, starting at age 4 and continuing to age 9, 1980-86. As she later observed, “It’s hard for girls because we thought the priest loved us even when he did these awful things to us. It took me a long time to understand how young I was, how I couldn’t have known better.” He ceased to be a priest in 1985. Sentenced to 5-7 years in Walpole state prison, 11 March 1990, released from prison in 1997. Kelley’s victims, who, by his own account, could number more than 100, were all girls. He was again indicted by a Worcester County grand jury for raping another girl five times in the 1980s, arraigned in Worcester Superior Court, 13 June 2002. Kelley walked out of court minutes after he entered a plea of not guilty to five counts of rape by the only accuser among many whose criminal complaint fell within the statute of limitations. Kelley pleaded guilty to raping Heather Mackey and Denise Gallian when he was assigned to St. Cecilia Parish, Leominster, more than 20 years earlier, 13 August 2003, sentenced to 5-7 years 1 October 2003.

  1. Desrosiers accusation Cyndi Desrosiers was four years old when Robert Kelley molested her for a year and a half until her family moved from South Bridge, Mass. She went on to become SNAP's regional director in Maine and has since been a visible advocate for victims and for reforms in the church.
  2. Martin accusation Jane Martin (1976-) was 10 years old when she was raped by Rev. Robert E. Kelley in Notre Dame Parish, Southbridge. she reported the abuse to her pastor, Monsignor Raymond Page, who was also Rev. Kelley's superior. 1986.
  3. Kelley report Diocese is claiming that it had no prior knowledge of Rev. Kelley molesting one of his victims, but a report written in 1963 by Rev. Richard Riley before he entered seminary noted the Rev. Kelley's then-pastor wrote “yes” to a question of whether the prospective seminarian had “concerned himself with persons of the other sex in such a way as to cause scandal, criticism or suspicion.”
  4. Kelley settlement One of the previous lawsuits against Rev. Kelley was secretly settled by the diocese for $800,000, partly to cover up Cardinal Medeiros' knowledge of Rev. Kelley's affinity for young girls.

Laperle case Brother Lewis Laperle, a teacher at Notre Dame Academy was accused of incidents between 1 January-June 1968. Brother Laperle was located in Pascoag, RI. Criminal complaints were filed by District Attorney John J. Conte, Worcester, 19 June 2003. He was found not guilty on all charges March 2004.

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